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Living in Lacey WA 👪 | Why Moving to Lacey Is a GREAT Idea!

Last Updated on: 11th September 2023, 06:31 am

Always dreamed of relocating to a peaceful suburb in the Pacific Northwest? You should consider moving to Lacey, WA. Lacey is a city outside Olympia that offers a great quality of life. Lacey is known for its abundance of green space, as close to 20% of the city is covered in parks and nature areas. Originally called Woodland, the area was renamed Lacey in 1891 after its first application for a postal code was denied because there was already a town by that name on the Columbia River. In the 1950s, several small settlements in the area were consolidated into the city of Lacy, which was officially incorporated in 1966. Today, Lacey WA is a good place to live, with great schools, low crime, and a stable economy.

Where Is Lacey?

Lacey is in Thurston County, Washington, within the Olympia-Tumwater metro area. It’s considered a desirable suburb and one of the best places to live in the county. Situated between I-5 and the Nisqually River, Lacey is at the southern tip of the Puget Bay Sound. Along with Olympia and Tumwater, Lacey is also surrounded by other smaller communities such as Kellys Korner, St. Clair, Tanglewilde-Thomas Place, and South Bay. It’s also close to the Nisqually Indian Community and Joint Base Lewis-McCord Air Force Base.

Lacey is about 5 miles or an 8-minute drive to downtown Olympia and 27.4 miles or a 33-minute drive to Tacoma.

Lacey Population & Demographics

The population of Lacey is 53,526 according to the 2020 census. It’s a fast-growing suburb and the amount of residents living in Lacey has increased by 23% compared to 2010. It is also relatively densely populated with 3,112 people per square mile.

It tends to attract a lot of families and 61% of households are married couples, while 12% of women ages 25-35 have given birth in the past year. It also has a relatively large population of Asian immigrants and 8% of households speak Asian-Islander languages at home.

Lacey is the second-largest city in Thurston County and the 24th largest city in the state of Washington. Several famous residents have lived in Lacey, including professional soccer player Kasey Keller and NFL running back Jonathan Stewart.

Other Lacey Demographics

  • The population of Lacey is 51% male and 49% female.
  • The median age is 37.1 years old.
  • The racial and ethnic breakdown is 70.5% White (64.4% non-Hispanic), 10.9% Hispanic or Latino, 9% Asian, 5.2% Black or African-American, 1.9% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 0.5% American Indian or Alaskan Native and 10.6% two or more races.
  • The median household income is $75,059, which is about 10% lower than the median income in the state.
  • 93.7% of Lacey residents have a high school diploma, but only 32.9% have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • The foreign population is 12.2%.
  • 16.2% of Lacey residents have veteran status, which is nearly double the rate in the state of Washington and 25% higher than the rest of the Olympia-Tumwater metro area.

Living in Lacey WA is very safe, although it has some property crime issues. The total crime rate is 2,729 incidents per 100,000 residents, which is 9.8% lower than the rest of the state but 16.3% higher than the rest of the country. The violent crime rate is 154 incidents per 100,000 people, which is 47.6% lower than the state and 60.3% lower than the nationwide average. However, the property crime rate is 2,575 per 100,000 residents, which is still 5.8% lower than the rest of Washington but 31.5% lower than the US overall.

The Lacey Police Department controls crime in the city with a team of 64 law enforcement personnel, including 49 sworn officers and 15 civilian employees.

Cost of Living in Lacey WA

The cost of living in Lacey is reasonably affordable for all the benefits it offers residents. The cost of living index for the Olivia-Tumwater metro area is 110, which indicates it’s 10% more expensive than the national average.

According to the Family Budget Calculator created by the Economic Policy Institute, a family of four, including two adults and two children, would need to make about $87,477 per year to afford to live in Thurston County.

Typical Lacey Living Expenses 

  • Inexpensive restaurant: $27.50
  • Cappuccino: $5.12
  • Bottle of coke: $2.75
  • 1 gallon of milk: $4.13
  • Loaf of bread: $3.74
  • 12 eggs: $4.00
  • 1 Pound of chicken: $2.83
  • 1 Pound of beef: $2.27
  • 1 Pound of apples: $1.25
  • 1 Pound of white rice: $1.67
  • Average Lacey utilities per month: $269

Source: Numbeo

The Lacey WA real estate market is also reasonably affordable. According to Redfin, the median listing price of homes for sale in Lacey WA, is $510,000, and the median price per square foot is $288. However, moving to Lacey offers plenty of opportunity for renters as well and about 43% of residents are tenants while 57% own a home.

RentCafe states that the average rent in Lacey, WA is $1,738, which is only about 2% higher than the national average. Prices start at about $1400 for a studio apartment and go up to $7,850 for a 3-bedroom.

Lacey Neighborhoods | Where to Live in Lacey

Moving to Lacey offers a variety of wonderful neighborhoods with quiet tree-lined blocks, beautiful homes, and low crime. While the most desirable homes are in the northeast, the most affordable are in the northwest. Here are some of the best places to live in Lacey.

Beachcrest | A Gorgeous Lacey Neighborhood on the Nisqually River

Beachcrest is a picturesque neighborhood in north Lacey that extends to the Nisqually River and offers spacious homes in the $380,000 to $580,000 range and breathtaking views of the water.

McAllister Park | An Upscale Lacey Neighborhood with Natural Beauty

McAllister Park is one of Lacey’s most coveted neighborhoods, with a median home price of $670,000 and a large community park in the center full of gorgeous mature oak trees.

Cantergrove at Long Lake | A Sophisticated Lacey Community with Modern Homes

Cantergrove at Long Lake is a development by the respected homebuilder Century Communities that offers over 100 newly constructed properties starting at $450,000 and easy access to a community park with a lake and dock access.

Weather in Lacey WA

According to the Koppen climate classification, Lacey has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate characterized by short, warm summers and cold, wet winters. The temperature usually ranges from about 34°F to 80°F, but in the winter, it can get as cold as 23°F and the summers can get up to 91°F. 

Lacey does get a fair amount of precipitation and averages about 49 inches of rain and 6 inches of snow per year. So pack a pair of galoshes and an umbrella if you plan on moving to Lacey.

Things to Do in Lacey

Although mostly known as a residential suburb, there are still plenty of fun things to do in Lacey WA. Residents will find plenty of shopping at the South Sound Center, Market Square, or the Lacey Downs Plaza. Beyond shopping, here are a few additional attractions in Lacey.

Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge 

The Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is a 762-acre nature preserve featuring trails, an education center, and plenty of great opportunities for bird-watching.

100 Brown Farm Rd NE, Olympia, WA 98516 (360) 753-9467


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Cirque Climbing 

Cirque Climbing is an indoor rock climbing offering 3,500 square feet of bouldering courses and 11,000 square feet of roped climbing, plus regular classes and events.

8276 28th Ct NE, Lacey, WA 98516 (360) 915-8614

Hawks Prairie Golf Course 

Hawks Prairie is a local attraction advertising two of the most unique golf courses in the Pacific Northwest, as well as practice facilities, restaurants, and more.

8383 Vicwood Ln NE, Lacey, WA 98516 (360) 455-8383

Additional Attractions Near Lacey

Lacey Restaurants

Residents will also find plenty of great restaurants in Lacey, WA, offering everything from Asian fusion to Mediterranean cuisine. Here are a few of the best restaurants in Lacey.

Ricardo’s Kitchen + Bar

Ricardo’s Kitchen + Bar is a local family-owned steakhouse serving dry-aged beef, pasta, wines, and other Italian-inspired fare with an upscale dining area and outdoor patio.

676 Woodland Square Loop SE, Lacey, WA 98503 (360) 413-9995

Safura’s Mediterranean Cuisine 

Safura’s is one of the top Lacey WA restaurants for those who like Halal food with classic Mediterranean fare like chicken gyros and calamari.

4160 6th Ave SE UNIT 103, Lacey, WA 98503 (360) 438-7898

Mayan Family Mexican Restaurant 

Mayan Family Mexican restaurant is one of the best restaurants in Lacey WA, for traditional Mexican cuisine, offering delectable items like chimichangas and carne asada.

4520 Pacific Ave SE, Lacey, WA 98503 (360) 491-8244

Jobs in Lacey

Lacey also has a very strong economy supported by industries like healthcare and social assistance, public administration, retail, and construction. Most Lacey jobs are in office and administrative support, sales and related, and management occupations. The vast majority of jobs in Lacey, WA, are in government, and Thurston County is the largest employer in the city.

Outside of government, the largest employers in Thurston and Pierce Counties are:

Lacey also earned the distinction as the 12th city to be designated an official “Green Power Community” by the EPA for its use of renewable energy and has earned the Tree City USA designation from the National Arbor Day Foundation for 26 years. According to Payscale, the average worker in Lacey makes $19.37 per hour. Residents will find many high-paying Lacey WA jobs, from construction to veterinary care.

Lacey Schools

Lacey has a great school system that includes some of the top educational institutions in the area. North Thurston Public Schools is the primary Lacey school district, which has won 18 Washington Achievement Awards and eight Schools of Distinction Awards. There are three high schools in Lacey, WA, Timberland, Ridge River, and North Thurston High School.

Timberland is generally considered the top Lacey high school and ranks 106th in the state with a graduation rate of 93%. There are also 13 elementary schools in Lacey, WA, including the highly respected Horizons Elementary, which ranks 142nd in the state.

Lacey is also home to Saint Martin’s University, a private Benedictine college. There are also many top-rated private schools in the city, including Cornerstone Christian School, Northwest Christian Academy, and Northwest Christian High School.

Residents living in Lacey WA can also stop by the Lacey Timberland Public Library to check out books and other media.

Lacey Statistics and Information

  • Lacey County: Thurston County
  • Lacey area: 17.66 sq miles
  • Lacey WA zip code: 98516
  • Lacey area code: 360
  • Lacey elevation: 203 ft
  • Lacey time zone: Pacific Standard Time (PST)
  • Closest airport: The closest airport to Lacey is the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), which is about 45 miles away.

Lacey, WA Map

Explore more fun things to do, attractions and restaurants with this map of Lacey!

Ready to relocate to this picturesque paradise in the Pacific Northwest? Trust our team of reliable Lacey movers to make your transition smooth and simple. Call 360-507-2447 for a free, personalized moving estimate.

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